This paper will examine the purposes of American Catholic higher education from the founding of Georgetown College in 1789, to the present when 235 Catholic colleges and universities enroll more than 705,000 students. The paper will situate the beginnings of Catholic higher education within the larger context of American higher education, demonstrating similarities and differences in nature and purpose. After briefly comparing and contrasting the founding purposes, the paper will concentrate on the changing purposes of Catholic higher education and the challenges confronting these institutions. Events which precipitated major shifts in purpose will receive special attention. Although an array of dynamic and colorful personalities influenced each of these events, it would be impossible to do justice to each of their stories. Therefore, major events, rather than individuals, will be highlighted.
I. IntroductionI. Introduction
II. American Higher Education in Colonial Times
III. The Beginnings of American Catholic Higher Education: 1789 - 1850
IV. Structural and Curricular Differences
V. The Beginnings of The Intellectual Tradition
VI. Reorganization, Unification, and the Emergence of the Women's College : 1890 - 1955
VII. A Continuing Quest for Identity, Meaning and Purpose: American Catholic Higher Education from 1955 to 1985
VIII. Ex Corde Ecclesiae: Opportunities and Challenges
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